We are down to just eight teams to decide the 2022-23 college basketball champion and for the first time in tournament history, not a single one seed is left standing. Texas is the only two left in our brackets as well.
Instead, we have a hodgepodge of first-timers in the Elite Eight (Creighton, San Diego State, Florida Atlantic), a team that was picked to finish last in their conference (Kansas State), repeat offenders from last year (Miami, Gonzaga), and a UConn program looking to get back to prominence. That’s quite a collection, and I’m loving all of it!
In this article, you can find some of my favorite picks for the regional finals on Saturday March 25th, 2023 and Sunday March 26th, 2023. You can access all of our latest sports betting promos, and sign up for a sportsbook here.
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(3) Kansas State vs. (9) Florida Atlantic
Markquis Nowell is the most exciting player left in the tournament. If you don’t believe me, go watch what he did to Sparty on one-and-a-half ankles on Thursday. I’m trying to think of a comparable passer to him in college and the only one coming to mind right now is Jameer Nelson. Maybe Steve Nash, but he didn’t really hone his passing skills until his Hall-of-Fame NBA Career.
Going a little further back, he reminds me a lot of John Stockton. Magic Johnson is the obvious comparison based on court vision alone, but Nowell isn’t there yet and may never be. What I’m trying to say is, he’s a hell of a lot of fun to watch even if he doesn’t translate all that well into today’s NBA. We can still have fun watching him in college.
FAU operates like a hockey team. They go 9-10 guys deep and often replace 3-5 guys at a time. They like to run, space the court, and have really good guard play. However, that’s not going to be enough. Nae’Qwan Tomlin and David N’Guessan will be problems for the Owls on the interior and Kansas State is a deeper team than they originally appear to be.
The Pick: Kansas State -2 (-110)
(3) Gonzaga vs. (4) Connecticut
Gonzaga just survived a street fight with UCLA in the Regional semis in a game they trailed by 13 points. Great outside shooting by Las Vegas native Julian Strawther and a dominant performance by Drew Timme pulled it out for the Bulldogs.
UConn was the aggressor against St. Mary’s. Adama Sanogo had his way with the undersized Gaels and the UConn guards were massive problems.
Who is going to control the tempo in this game? Gonzaga wants to get out and run. They force teams to play at a pace they are uncomfortable with and create chaos. How much can they really speed up UConn though? The Huskies don’t mind going fast from time to time. It’s going to be fun watching the Timme vs. Sanogo matchup, but that likely leaves Anton Watson as the piece that Connecticut won’t have an answer for. Gonzaga has too much size and their guards are plenty good enough to take whatever the Huskies come at them with.
The Pick: Gonzaga ML (+115)
(5) San Diego State vs. (6) Creighton
The Aztecs won this game despite their leading scorer not making a shot from the floor. They frustrated Brandon Miller and handled Charles Bediako. They got the Tide in foul trouble and basically pushed them off their spots. The Aztecs were one of the three teams in this region perfectly built to bully Alabama out of the tournament and they succeeded.
Creighton shot the lights out against Princeton, but will they be able to do that against the Aztecs? Probably not. SDSU was able to contain Charles Bediako, but he isn’t nearly the offensive presence that Ryan Kalkbrenner is. As per usual, Kalkbrenner is the wild card for the Jays. They are going to need good guard play out of Ryan Nembhard and Tyler Alexander, but they are going to need Kalkbrenner and Arthur Kaluma to dominate the SDSU front.
Creighton can beat anyone if their shots are falling, which is a big reason why I had them in my Final Four. I chickened out in the Second Chance bracket when I thought they would be facing the Tide. Not now. I’m back on the Jays.
The pick: Creighton -1.5 (-110)
(2) Texas Longhorns vs. (5) Miami Hurricanes
The Longhorns are the only one of the top eight overall seeds left standing. They have got here with stifling defense and the brute strength of Dylan Disu. Disu left early against Xavier, but Creighton transfer Christian Bishop filled in nicely, just like their coach. Texas is playing like their coach’s life depends on it, and because Texas boosters are morons, it does.
I’m an Oklahoma fan so I want to see Texas screw up royally and not hire Rodney Terry. This guy has taken the Longhorns to the cusp of a Final Four after taking over for a fired coach during the season. This team plays hard for him, and in a sane universe, this would be more than enough. If you’ve ever been to Austin, Texas, you know they aren’t always sane.
I love Miami’s guard play, but if Norchad Omier is forced to miss time again, that spells the end for the Canes. It might anyway because Texas is on a mission for their coach. They are playing hard for Terry and it’s very obvious they are a well-coached bunch.
The Pick: Texas -3.5 (-120)
Enjoy the games and thanks for checking out my picks! Good luck!